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Old 10-19-2018, 04:16 PM   #1
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Stranded again, hydraulics quit

Verizon phones don't work in downtown Logan,NM, all I can get is a sloooow data connection on my jetpack.


It's a 2017 Phaeton 40AH. Packed up this morning, everything worked fine (well except for all the known broken things) Sunny and blue skies all day (compared to the last 5 days or so of rain and mist) so wasn't expecting any problems.



Go to set up at lunchtime, hit the auto level button... and nothing. No yellow LEDs showing which way it's not level, just the green "Travel Mode" LED on.


Nothing on the panel works, manual dump, manual extend don't do anything either.


Figured fine, I don't have to be level, go to put the kitchen slide (the loooong) one out... and it moves about 6" under residual pressure in the system.



So now can't put it out or bring it in.


I checked and both of the 15A fuses in the pump compartment were showing open circuit, so I drove into "town" and got some replacements. Still nothing happening. The fuses didn't blow, but still no hydraulics.


Normally I'd call Coach-Net and have someone there walk me through troubleshooting, but without phone reception and without any sort of RV repair place in town, I'm stuck.


I don't know anything about hydraulics other than that the pump motor should run when I push the button.


Anyone have any ideas/guesses on how to fix it?
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Old 10-19-2018, 05:18 PM   #2
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Everything needs power to run so I would start with the basics. Are your batteries fully charged? Did someone hit the main power switch or the salesman switch by the door? Do you have a meter to check if the main power switch is working?
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Old 10-19-2018, 07:08 PM   #3
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The emergency brake switch (the yellow diamond) has an electric switch on it that cuts the jacks and slide extension off when the emergency brake is released. Ours failed after about 94.000 miles and showed similar symptoms as you've reported. We were able to get things to work a few times by repeatedly working the parking brake switch. We also found the brute force approach worked. Banged a fist down on the dash while activating the parking brake. The switch has a 2 wire plug connected to it that you can also check for security. Yo need access to the rear of that parking switch. Although I didn't have to try it, a jumper across those 2 wires may also work until you secure a switch. I didn't have to go that far as we picked up a switch at Red Bay while in the mechanical bay and I installed it when we got home. Somewhere around $10 I believe, but you do have to get access to the rear of that switch.
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Old 10-19-2018, 09:02 PM   #4
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Did you have the engine running while trying slides, etc? All of that sounds like low house batteries. With the Spyder system, it has to sense low voltage for one minute before charging the house from the alternator.
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Old 10-19-2018, 09:58 PM   #5
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Only thing I was able to confirm was that I had 13.8V to the one solenoid (which appears to power the second one)


I found a 5A fuse and a 40A fuse, both were okay.



Batteries are fully charge, and I tried it on shore power as well.


I've got a DVM, thta's how I checked fuses.
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Old 10-19-2018, 09:59 PM   #6
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Did you have the engine running while trying slides, etc? All of that sounds like low house batteries. With the Spyder system, it has to sense low voltage for one minute before charging the house from the alternator.

Yeah, I tried with and without engine running, just in case.
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Old 10-19-2018, 10:04 PM   #7
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The emergency brake switch (the yellow diamond) has an electric switch on it that cuts the jacks and slide extension off when the emergency brake is released. .

Ah, now that sounds like a possibility - except shouldn't it display an error if that happens?


I did try starting the engine and setting the parking brake just in case, but maybe I'll try banging on it. I've got 37,000 miles on this one. The switch has always been harder to pull than normal (a couple of techs have actually remarked on it)



The yellow lights indicating out-of-level don't come on at all. The only thing on is the 'Travel Mode' green LED.


I bang on tomorrow and see what happens.



Thanks!
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Old 10-20-2018, 08:19 AM   #8
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Actually I realized as I was falling asleep last night the switch can't be the culprit - because I was able to deploy the rear (electric) slides just fine.



Good idea though!


I'm assuming power to the panel is good since the "Travel Mode" LED is good.



The fact that both 15A fuses were showing open means that whatever the failure is, it's symmetrical... and the only thing I can think of that's shared by both slides and the jacks is the pump itself.



So either it died or its not getting power.



I just really don't understand how it could have died while I was driving. It worked fine when I pulled the slides in yesterday morning but then wouldn't work at all in the afternoon.


It's not like the pump started to spin up and died or anything, it never even tried to put the jacks down, just complete silence when I pressed the auto-level button.


That seems to rule out mechanical failure of the pump. Gotta be wiring or fuses, but man, what a jumble of wires it is in that compartment, not to mention dirty.


Going to give it another go this morning (at reduced swearing levels) and see what I can find, then I'll figure out how to call Coach-Net


It would be really nice if I could go more than 2 weeks without *something* failing on this.thing In 2 years full-time living that's the longest I've been able to go, 2 weeks, where things were all operating normally and didn't need repairs or troubleshooting or weren't falling off or loose or intermittent or cause snow to fall in Miami :\
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Old 10-20-2018, 08:39 AM   #9
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Check the connector to the HWH control panel. Pull the screws out or the panel and lift it up to check the connector.

Other things that cause symptoms such as yours - emergency brake switch, ignition switch connections, transmission pad connection. All of these are part of an interlock system to prevent accidental deployment of jacks and slides.

The main things to check on the HWH side are the control panel connection (inside) and the motor connections (outside).

The last time I encountered something like what you are experiencing was with an owner who didn't put on his emergency brake - nothing worked, no levelers, no slides.
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Old 10-20-2018, 12:02 PM   #10
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...Check the connector to the HWH control panel. Pull the screws out or the panel and lift it up to check the connector.

Thanks for the tips. As soon as I finish getting dirty, I'll clean up and pop that panel open.

While checking all the plugs and fluid level etc. I discovered two stray threaded caps/knobs laying in the bottom of the compartment.

One is flimsy blue plastic that just looks like it was for protecting a fitting during shipping/assembly.

The other is heavy black plastic and has a small o-ring in the bottom. It looks like it's supposed to be screwed down somewhere in there.

Unfortunately Tiffin litters customer coaches with construction debris so it's impossible to tell if those recently fell down or if they've been rolling around down there since it was built. They overfilled the reservoir when they built it so it has always had a light coating of hydraulic fluid since it was delivered (and now has 37,000 miles worth of dust in it)

I'm going to poke around with my inspection camera and see if I can find where the knobs go, then get cleaned up and pull apart the inside. As far as I can tell everything is fine electrically in the compartment.

I don't think the two 15A fuses were blown yesterday because I discovered today that my fancy Klein clamp-on meter doesn't work unless I bang it hard against my knee a couple of times (too much high tech gives a false sense of security :\) So it must be inhibited by pressure switches or electric signal.
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Old 10-20-2018, 12:42 PM   #11
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Check the connector to the HWH control panel. Pull the screws out or the panel and lift it up to check the connector.

Other things that cause symptoms such as yours - emergency brake switch, ignition switch connections, transmission pad connection. All of these are part of an interlock system to prevent accidental deployment of jacks and slides.
...

Any idea where they mount the level sensor and such in a 40AH?


I pulled the HWH panel, everything solid connector-wise, I see 12V where the schematic says it should be.



Out of curiosity I tried to force it to light the "Not in park/brake" LED by taking the emergency brake off and shifting into drive -, and it doesn't display the LED at all, no matter what button I hit.



It just sits there with 'Travel Mode' green light and that's all.
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Old 10-20-2018, 12:43 PM   #12
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Ah, now that sounds like a possibility - except shouldn't it display an error if that happens?


I did try starting the engine and setting the parking brake just in case, but maybe I'll try banging on it. I've got 37,000 miles on this one. The switch has always been harder to pull than normal (a couple of techs have actually remarked on it)



The yellow lights indicating out-of-level don't come on at all. The only thing on is the 'Travel Mode' green LED.


I bang on tomorrow and see what happens.
Mine never showed any warning lights and there were no lights on the HWH panel. We pulled the slides in when we began traveling in the AM and everything was fine, then when we went to push the driver slide out for lunch nothing happened. Didn't want to mess with it too much as I didn't want to have it out and unable to get it in. I could live a few days with everything closed up.
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Old 10-20-2018, 02:09 PM   #13
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We pulled the slides in when we began traveling in the AM and everything was fine, then when we went to push the driver slide out for lunch nothing happened.

Hmmm... that's another thing that's different.


Your slides didn't do anything.



My slides both came out (yes, I was stupid enough to try the other side just to see) based on residual pressure in the hydraulics.


So mine reacted to the electric switches being pressed and tried to let them out, but the pump didn't kick in to drive them.



Yours didn't react to the switches at all.



Wish mine had just stayed in. I'd have just driven to Abq to get it worked on. Now I'm stuck here with slides out 6-9" and no way to get them back in, no phone service to call for troubleshooting help or repair service.


Thta's what I'll have to do now, drive to Tucumcari and see if I can get Verizon reception there, get troubleshooting help then drive back and try it. Fuuuuun.



I spent about 45 minutes with Verizon tech support, I pointed out that their coverage map shows the entire area here covered - tech support said "that's extended coverage, you can't make phone calls from there unless you enable wifi calling" which I did... and I called a friend and could only understand a few words of a 5 minute conversation - basically Verizon voice calling doesn't work in many (most?) of the areas they show as "covered"



Thanks for the help!
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Old 10-20-2018, 07:43 PM   #14
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Finally drove to Tucumcari and managed to find the only place you can get a Verizon voice call to work - near the Blake's Lottaburger near I-40 there's a Verizon 4G signa (but nowhere else in town)


Talked to Coach-Net tech, he said I'd already done more troubleshooting than they would have expected me to do and they're sending a mobile tech out tomorrow who will at least help me get the slides retracted if they can't repair it.


Looks like the Cummuns dealer in Albq is listed on the HWH website as being qualified to work on them.



Here's hoping it isn't expensive. (maniacal laughter follows)


Thanks to all for the help/suggestions!
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